City of Marion

Downtown Marion Christmas Lights Temporarily Turned Off Due to Snow

The City of Marion has temporarily turned off Downtown Christmas Lights for safety reasons due to many of the receptacles providing power for the Christmas lights being covered by snow and slush. One receptacle was found to have smoke coming from it Friday afternoon.  Rather than risk the safety of City personnel or contractors determining the cause for the electrical issue and undertaking repairs, the City turned off all the lights temporarily. The City hopes to have the Downtown Christmas lights turned back on by Monday, December 11. 

New Year's Eve Celebration Set for Sunday, December 31 on Main Street

The Marion Rotary Club, City of Marion, Marion Business Association and other agencies are finalizing plans for the 9th Annual New Year’s Eve Celebration to take place in Downtown Marion on Sunday, December 31 from 8:30 p.m. until 12:30 a.m.  This year’s event will feature more activities and events than ever.  There is no need to go out of town, as you can celebrate the New Year in Downtown Marion. 

 

The New Year’s Eve Celebration is sponsored by the Marion Rotary Club with assistance from the Marion Business Association, City of Marion, McDowell County and the McDowell Arts Council.

 

The event has many corporate sponsors this year.  This year’s Signature Sponsors are Mr. Bob’s Donuts, CarePartners Foundation and Steve Jones Sells Homes.  Platinum Level Sponsors are the McDowell Chamber of Commerce and the Marion Rotary Club Past Presidents.  The Gold Level Sponsor is Asheville Savings Bank.  Silver Level Sponsors include the Crooked Door Coffee House, Realty 1, WBRM Radio, Johnson Price Sprinkle PA, Sharon L. Parker PA and GEM Constructors. 

 

As in past years, the New Year’s Eve Celebration will feature food and craft vendors, many downtown food and beverage establishments and businesses that are open, a scavenger hunt with cash prizes, DJ Doug McCraw playing music on the Courthouse lawn, a costume contest with prizes, a gold nugget raffle and the dropping of a replica gold nugget at Midnight into Mr. Bob’s 10 foot giant donut.  This year’s event will feature wagon rides instead of carriage rides for a small fee.  Returning to this year’s event will be the Resolution Run 5K, a sparkler display after the gold nugget drop, a beer and wine garden and miniature train rides. 

 

To sign up for the 5K, which begins at 8:30 p.m. at the City Stage (the old gazebo location) on Main Street, you can visit https://runsignup.com/Race/NC/Marion/ResolutionRunmarion.  The entry fee for the 5K is $30.  The 5K will be limited to the first 100 entrants.  All entrants will receive a shirt and finisher medal.  Prizes will be awarded to the overall top three male finishes and the overall top three female finishers.  Proceeds from the 5K will go to benefit McDowell Mission Ministries. 

 

The Marion Rotary Club is inviting interested churches, non-profit groups, businesses and individuals to sell crafts or food and non-alcoholic drink items on Main Street during the New Year’s Eve Celebration.  A craft vendor space can be obtained for $10.00 and a food or beverage vendor space can be reserved for $20.00.  Please contact Bob Boyette at 652-3551 or Freddie Killough or Lou Godfrey at 652-2215 to register as a vendor.

 

With new and improved activities and more retail and food and beverage businesses open Downtown, this year’s New Year’s Eve Celebration will be better than ever and have fun for the entire family.  Please make plans to join the fun on Main Street on New Year’s Eve and invite family and friends to come out and enjoy a great evening.

 

For further information, please contact Marion Business Association Events Coordinator Lou Godfrey at 652-2215 or lougodfrey@frontier.com or City Manager Bob Boyette at 652-3551 or bboyette@marionnc.org.

Holiday Shopping and Events Scheduled in Downtown Marion

Downtown Marion will celebrate the Christmas season with extended shopping hours and many events in the next month.  Eevery Thursday evening, November 30 through December 21, many Downtown retail and food and beverage businesses will feature extended hours, with all participating businesses being open until at least 8:00 PM.  The following businesses will participate: 
 
Crabby Abby's Bar & Grill
Killough's Music & Loan
Spruced Boutique
Bill Griffith Jewelers
McDowell Arts Council (MACA)
Shucks Pearls
Burrito Brothers
Crooked Door Coffee House
Mr. Bob's Donuts
Refinery 13
XYZ
 
During the holiday shopping event, there will be music, in store specials, strolling singers and dining specials.  The dates for the holiday shopping event are November 30, December 7, 14, and 21.  These are great evenings to do your Christmas shopping after working hours, to stroll the Downtown area or to enjoy an evening out in Downtown Marion.  If you haven't explored Downtown Marion recently, then you don't know what you are missing.  Downtown Marion has new retail shops, food and beverage businesses and more.
 
On Thursday evening, December 7, at 6:00 p.m., Downtown Marion will celebrate Christmas with the annual Melodies on Main event at the new City Stage on North Main Street.  Melodies on Main always provides a great opportunity for children to visit with Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus.  As usual, the Magic Mail Box will on hand for those wanting to mail letters to Santa.  You can take a hay wagon ride, listen to live music, do your Christmas shopping Downtown, buy from craft vendors, make an ornament and enjoy hot chocolate and funnel cakes on the street.  At Melodies on Main, the Ghost Riders will be collecting canned goods and other non-perishable items for a Christmas Food Drive.  All food that is colelcted will be distributed in McDowell County.
 
For more information about Melodies on Main or Downtown Holiday Shopping, please contact the Marion Business Association at (828) 652-2215 or follow Marion Events on Facebook.
 
The Pilot Club will hold their annual tree-lighting ceremony on the evening of Melodies on Main on Thursday, December 7 at 7:00 p.m. on the Courthouse Lawn.  During the ceremony, people whose loved ones have purchased lights in their honor or memory will be recognized.  Pilot Club President Karin Conley welcomes the community to this event.

Finally, make sure to plan to be on Main Street on New Year's Eve on Sunday, December 31 for the 9th Annual New Year's Eve Celebration.  The New Year's Eve Celebration will take place from 9:00 p.m. until after 12:00 Midnight and be bigger and better than ever.  The New Year's Eve Celebration will again feature the lighted gold nugget being dropped at Midnight into the 10 foor giant donut being provided by Mr. Bob's Donuts.  There will be live music, a costume contest with prizes, a scavenger's hunt with cash prizes, a gold nugget raffle, wagon rides, train rides for children, numerous businesses open and food and craft vendors.  The New Year's Eve Celebration is a partnership between the Marion Rotary Club, City of Marion and Marion Business Association, with support from the McDowell Chamber of Commerce, McDowell County and McDowell Arts Council.  Major sponsors of the New Year's Eve Celebration are Mr. Bob's Donuts, CarePartners Foundation, Steve Jones Sells Homes, the McDowell Chamber of Commerce, the Marion Rotary Club Past Presidents and Asheville Savings Bank.

There are opportunities remaining for vendors for New Year's Eve.  Please contact Freddie Killough or Lou Godfrey with the Marion Business Association at (828) 652-2215 to reserve a vendor space.
 
For more information about the New Year's Eve Celebration, please contact the Marion Business Association at (828) 652-2215 or follow Marion Events on Facebook.
You never know who you will see in Downtown Marion during the Christmas and New Year's season!  Please come on out and enjoy the fun!

Marion Christmas Parade Set for Sunday, November 19 in Downtown Marion

The 2017 Marion Christmas Parade is scheduled for 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, November 19, 2017.  The event will kick-off Thanksgiving and Christmas activities for the City of Marion.  The parade is organized by the Marion Business Association and sponsored by the City of Marion.    The theme for the parade is “Serving Others”.  The Parade Marshal is current City Council Member and former Mayor A. Everette Clark.  Council Member Clark is retiring from City elected service, after more than 45 years as an elected official with the City of Marion.

Council Member Clark came to Marion with Moore’s Department Store in 1963, as the store manager.  Later, he was the owner of Robinson’s Clothing Store on Main Street for over 20 years.  Council Member Clark was first appointed to Marion City Council in 1972 and was subsequently elected to the City Council in 1973 and re-elected in 1977 and 1981.  He was elected Mayor of Marion in 1985 and served as Mayor for 24 years.  In 2009, Mayor Clark chose to run for City Council and was elected as a Council Member in 2009 and 2013.  In total, Everette Clark served as Mayor for 24 years and as a City Council Member for over 21 years.  Council Member Clark was very active in the North Carolina League of Municipalities, serving as League President and as Chairman of the Risk Management Board of Directors.  He also served on the National League of Cities Board of Directors and Advisory Council and as Chairman of the Small Cities Council.  Council Member Clark also served on the Board of Directors of the North Carolina Rural Center.  In 2009, then Mayor Clark was a recipient of the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, the highest honor bestowed upon North Carolina citizens, that is awarded to persons for exemplary service to the State of North Carolina and their communities. 

Council Member Clark is a member at Marion First Baptist Church, having served in many church positions.  He has served on numerous boards and committees in the region and locally and is well respected as a champion of local government.  Council Member Clark and his wife Nancy are planning to spend more time with their family, including two sons and daughters-in-law, and their four grandchildren.

McDowell’s own award winning McDowell High School Marching Titan Band will be featured at the beginning of the parade. Hillcrest Marching Band from Asheville is expected to participate and is always a big hit.  

All parade float entries are required to be registered.  The registration number is to be displayed in the window of the parade entry.  Parade entries should be fully decorated with a Christmas theme and have all passengers loaded when arriving for parade line-up.

The deadline for registration for the Christmas Parade is Thursday, November 17.  Any entry not registered with a number and decorated will be turned away at line-up.  Antique cars are not required to be decorated or pre-register.  Emergency vehicles with PA systems are encouraged to play Christmas music.   No candy is allowed to the thrown from any vehicle or float.  Handouts by persons walking in the parade route are acceptable and encouraged.    The Marion Business Association and the City of Marion will sponsor the only Santa Claus in the Christmas Parade.  No other Santa will be allowed in the parade. Churches may have only one bus/unit in the parade and it must be decorated.  

The Parade line-up begins at 1:30 PM in the parking lot of Rose’s.  All parade vehicles are to enter Robinson Road behind Rose’s and come into the parking lot.  Vehicles will then be entered into the line-up.  Horses will line up on Montevista Avenue. Horse trailers are to be taken to the Public Works Department behind the Hook & Anchor Restaurant on Rutherford Road.  Horses will continue together as a unit to the Public Works Department.   All horses are to remain on Montevista Avenue until placed into the line-up.  No horses are allowed in the shopping center parking lot.  The parade procession will begin at Montevista Avenue and North Main Street and will finish at Spring Street and South Main Street.  Walking units will enter the parade at the Community Building.  The parade is to stay together until it reaches Morgan Street and all entries are to go to the end of the parade route before disbanding. Children on floats can be picked up at the Hook & Anchor Restaurant on Rutherford Road. 

The Marion Business Association is still accepting entries for the Christmas Parade.  There is no charge for registration.  Please contact Lou Godfrey with the Marion Business Association at (828) 652-2215 to register to enter the Christmas Parade and to receive a registration number and a copy of the parade guidelines.

Manufacturing Awareness Open House to be Held on November 13

In celebration of Manufacturing Day 2017, the McDowell Workforce Pipeline Committee will sponsor a Manufacturing Awareness Open House at the Universal Advanced Manufacturing Center, located at 634 College Drive in Marion on the campus of McDowell Technical Community College, on Monday, November 13 from 4:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m.  This event is part of an effort to change people's perceptions about today's manufacturing environment and to draw attention to the outstanding opportunities that a career in manufacturing can provide.  Planned activities include tours of the programs offered at McDowell Technical Community College, such as Industrial Maintenance, Machining Technology, Welding and HVAC.  Attendees will be able to speak to students, both past and present, as well as representatives of local manufacturing companies.

Manufacturing Day is an annual national event designed to showcase manufacturing technology and careers.  Manufacturing is especially important in the City of Marion and McDowell County, as McDowell County ranks among the top five counties in North Carolina for the highest percentage of the workforce employed in manufacturing.  Marion and McDowell County have numerous great manufacturers, who collectively have hundreds of jobs available.  This availability of positions, along with the fact that McDowell County has the 9th lowest unemployment rate among North Carolina's 100 counties, at 4.0 percent, creates excellent opportunities for people in Marion and McDowell County to find a job closer to home or for people to move to our community for a great job and to enjoy the wonderful quality of life that Western North Carolina offers.

In recognition of this event and the important of manufacturing in Marion and McDowell County, Marion Mayor Steve Little and McDowell County Board of Commissioners Chairman David Walker will each issue proclamations honoring November 2017 as manufacturing month in the City of Marion and McDowell County.

"There is an increasing demand for highly skilled professionals in the manufacturing sector who can design, program and operate technology," said Jerry Broome with the Workforce Pipeline Committee and the Region C Workforce Development Board.  "The average age of a manufacturing employee is 56, and between now and 2020, there will be an unprecedented shortage of skilled workers who will need to be replaced."

More information on Manufacturing Day is available at www.mfgday.com.  To learn more about the numerous job opportunities in Marion and McDowell County, please visit the NC Works Career Center at 316 Baldwin Avenue or call (828) 659-6001.

Pruning the Right Way: Tips and Techniques for Trees Workshop Scheduled for Saturday, November 11, 2017

The City of Marion Tree Board and the NC Cooperative Extension Service McDowell County Center are hosting a tree pruning workshop called Pruning the Right Way: Tips and Techniques for Trees.  The course will be held on Saturday, November 11, 2017 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at the Marion Community Building located at 191 North Main Street, Marion, North Carolina.  J. Andrew Wagner, ISA Certified Arborist, will present proper pruning techniques and integrated pest management.  The workshop will conclude with a hands-on tress pruning demo.  The workshop is designed for professional landscapers, home owners, and all other landscape enthusiasts. Landscape Contractors Continuing Education Credits (2.5L) have been approved for this course, and Pesticide Recertification credits are pending approval.  The course is $10.00, and preregistration is required.  For more information or to register please contact Molley Sandfoss, CED at Molly_Sandfoss@ncsu.edu or (828) 652-8104.

Tailgate Market Fall Festival Set for October 31

The Historic Marion Tailgate Market will hold its annual Fall Festival Day on Tuesday, October 31.  The event will feature Trick or Treating with downtown merchants from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.  Other fun activities will take place at the Tailgate Market Shelter on West Henderson Street until 5:00 p.m.  This is a fun event for the entire family, so get out your Halloween costumes and come out and enjoy the fun in Downtown Marion on October 31. For more information, please contact Lou Godfrey at the Marion Business Association at 652-2215.

 

Community Building Park Splash Pad Closes for Season on October 15

The Community Building Park Splash Pad closed for the season on Sunday, October 15.  The Splash Pad will reopen in Spring 2018.

For more information, please contact the Public Works Department at (828) 652-4224.

34th Annual Mountain Glory Festival Set for Saturday, October 14

The City of Marion will celebrate the arrival of autumn in the Blue Ridge with the 34th annual Mountain Glory Festival on Saturday, October 14 on Main Street in Downtown Marion.  This year's Mountain Glory Festival will extend for an additional hour, from 9:30 a.m. until 6:00 p.m.  For 34 years, beautiful Downtown Marion has hosted this popular celebration on the 2nd Saturday in October near the peak of leaf season in Western North Carolina.  Each year, approximately 20,000 people attend Mountain Glory, making it one of the most popular festivals in Western North Carolina.  This year, make plans to visit Marion on October 14 and enjoy the variety of food, shopping, fun and activities that the Mountain Glory Festival offers.  Admission to the Mountain Glory Festival is free.

The 2017 Mountain Glory Festival will feature a record number of over 150 food, craft, business and non-profit vendors spread out over three blocks of Main Street.  Visitors looking for original handicrafts will find plenty of choices for shopping, including locally made arts and crafts.  You can enjoy a great variety of festival foods and a wide array of live entertainment on two stages, featuring some of Marion's finest musicians, including Posom Creek, Greg Conley, the Addie's Chapel Adult Choir, Dave Dribbon and Sidecar Honey, ShBoom, the Lake Lure Cloggers, RMA Karate, Little Miss McDowell Addison Cunningham, the Coleman Arrowood Band and other local talent. 

While at Mountain Glory, you can also visit the numerous restaurants, pubs and shops in Downtown Marion that will be open.  Downtown Marion has had many new businesses open in the past year or two, so if you haven't visited Downtown recently, you are in for a treat. 

The recently renovated City of Marion train caboose, located beside the Historic Marion Depot at 58 Depot Street, will be available for free tours throughout the Mountain Glory Festival.  Please make sure to check out the caboose and experience railroad history. 

New for the 2017 Mountain Glory Festival is the First Annual Miss Mountain Glory Festival Pageant.  Miss Mountain Glory and Miss Mountain Glory's Outstanding Teen will be crowned on the Family Stage on the Courthouse lawn during the afternoon of the Festival.  A $500 scholarship will be awarded to Miss Mountain Glory.

The kids will have fun in the Children's Area on the Courthouse Lawn with hands-on activities, including a balloon artist, fishing booth, spin art, make your own tutu activity, face painting, rock painting, local entertainment and the ever popular best-dressed pet contest.  There will also be inflatables and a moonbounce for children on Main Street near the northern end of the Festival area between Fort and New Streets. 

Returning to the 2017 Mountain Glory Festival is a Beer and Wine Garden.  Beer and wine will be available for purchase by glass or bottle between 12:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. for those 21 years of age and older in the Beer and Wine Garden, located next to State Farm Insurance on Main Street.  ID is required to enter the Beer and Wine Garden.  The beer and wine will be provided by local and regional breweries and wineries.

There will be a car show throughout Mountain Glory in the parking lot of Wells Fargo Bank on North Main Street, with many great cars on display.

You will not want to miss the annual Mountain Glory Quilt Show inside the McDowell Arts Council on South Main Street. The quilt show is the gallery's featured exhibit for October.  The mountain tradition of quilting is alive and well with dozens of quilts and quilted pieces on display.  The Quilt Show has been a beautiful and colorful addition to Mountain Glory Festival for many years and all quilts are one of a kind works of art.  There is no charge for the Quilt Show. You can also enjoy the McDowell Arts Council Art Gallery while visiting the Quilt Show. 

This year's Mountain Glory Festival includes a free shuttle service. This transportation service will run approximately every 15 minutes between 10:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. between the Rose's parking lot on North Main Street and a point located near Kirksey Funeral Home on Fort Street next to the Festival area. The transportation service is provided courtesy of the McDowell County Department of Social Services.

The Mountain Glory Festival is sponsored by the City of Marion and coordinated by the Marion Business Association, with numerous businesses also serving as sponsors.  The 2017 Festival sponsors include the McDowell Hospital, McDowell Technical Community College, the McDowell News, Jim Cook Chevrolet Buick GMC, the McDowell Chamber of Commerce, Asheville Savings Bank, Hunter's Livermush, Pepsi, McDowell Cornerstone Credit Union, U.S. Cellular, H. Russell Neighbors and Tiffany Morgan, Attorneys at Law, Tom Johnson Camping World, Mountain Area Community Services, Marion D.D.S. Family Dentistry, Killough's Music & Loan, Appalachian Trading Post, Westmoreland Funeral Home & Crematory, Premier Insurance Services, Blackbeard Outdoor World, TS Orthodontics, Encompass Home Health, Workout Anytime and JC Construction & Tree Service. 

Please make plans to come to Downtown Marion on Saturday, October 14 for the Mountain Glory Festival.  You'll be glad you did!  For more information about the Mountain Glory Festival, please call the Marion Business Association at (828) 652-2215, e-mail info@mtngloryfestival.com or visit www.mtngloryfestival.com. To find additional area events, attractions and lodging information, you can visit www.blueridgetravelers.com or call toll free (888-233-6111) to receive a free visitor guide and map. 

City of Marion to Hold Check Presentation and Ribbon Cuttings on Tuesday, September 5

The City of Marion has scheduled a check presentation and ribbon cuttings involving three downtown projects for Tuesday, September 5 at 10:00 a.m.  The event will start at the Historic Marion Depot at 10:00 a.m. with a presentation of a check from Duke Energy to the City for the Growing Entrepreneurs Marion (GEM) Small Business Grant Program.  The City launched the GEM Program in 2016 as a way to attract retail and food and beverage businesses to the Downtown area.  To be eligible for possible GEM Grant funding, businesses must complete several weeks of business classes, open a retail or food or beverage business in Downtown Marion, participate in special events and meet targets for hiring and being open a certain number of hours.  The GEM Program has already led to three new businesses locating in Downtown Marion, with several more business openings planned over the next few months.  The GEM Program is being funded through contributions from Duke Energy, the City of Marion, the Marion Business Association, the McDowell Chamber of Commerce and the McDowell Tourism Development Authority.

Immediately following the check presentation, Mayor Steve Little and City Council Members will cut the ribbon for the City’s new electric vehicle charging stations, located on West Henderson Street adjacent to the Tailgate Market Shelter.  The City recently installed two electric vehicle charging stations, funded through at no cost to the City through a $10,000 grant from Duke Energy.  The charging stations will be available for public use immediately following the ribbon cutting.

After the charging station ribbon cutting, Mayor Little and City Council Members will cut the ribbon for the City’s renovated caboose, located next to the Depot.  City staff recently restored the interior and exterior of the caboose, including painting the caboose red with City of Marion lettering.  The caboose will be open to the public following the ribbon cutting.

The public is invited to attend the check presentation and ribbon cuttings and to enjoy the new electric vehicle charging stations and the newly renovated caboose.

For further information, please contact City Manager Bob Boyette at 828-652-3551 or bboyette@marionnc.org.

Beach Bash Concert Set for Friday, August 18

The final concert of the 2016 Downtown Marion Concert Series will take place on Friday, August 18, from 6:30 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. at the Marion Tailgate Market at 67 West Henderson Street in Downtown Marion. The August 18 concert is the always popular Beach Bash, which this year will feature Deano and the Dreamers from Hendersonville, North Carolina.   

Deano and the Dreamers are a variety party/dance band that has been performing together for 21 years.  The band plays regularly at area country clubs, outdoor events, corporate events, weddings and dance events in Western North Carolina and Upstate South Carolina.  Specializing in oldies, beach, country and standards, Deano and the Dreamers has something to appeal to everyone.  The band provides a high energy, good time show.  They strive to entertain their audiences and have a proven track record of doing so.  All members of the band have played for many years and take their musical performances very seriously. Deano and the Dreamers always show up ready to provide professional entertainment for their audiences.

Deano and the Dreamers features Dean Landreth on vocals and keys, Steve Laughter on vocals and bass guitar, Chuck Standberry on drums and percussion and David Reid on guitar and vocals. 

Deano and the Dreamers is looking forward to rocking Downtown Marion on August 18.  Be sure to bring your boogie and shag shoes and Deano and the Dreamers will show you a Downtown Marion good time.

The Beach Bash concert is sponsored by US Cellular, Marion Pharmacy and the City of Marion.

Come out to the Tailgate Market Shelter on August 18, bring your lawn chair and enjoy a great evening of music with some of our region's finest musicians! This concert is coordinated by the Marion Business Association.  For more information follow Marion Events on Facebook or contact Lou Godfrey at 652-2215.

Community Job Fair Scheduled for Thursday, August 10

For the fifth consecutive year, NC Works, the City of Marion, McDowell County, the McDowell Chamber of Commerce, McDowell Technical Community College and local manufacturers and other employers are partering to hold a Community Job Fair.  This year's Job Fair will take place on Thursday, August 10, from 1:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m. at the Universal Advanced Manufacturing Center located past McDowell Technical Community College at 634 College Drive in Marion.  Over 40 employers are scheduled to have tables at the Job Fair.  The vast majority of these employers are actively hiring and need qualified employees immediately.

Most of the available jobs are in manufacturing.  Employers such as Baxter, Baldor, Columbia Forest Products, Crane Resistoflex, Ethan Allen, IAC, Janesville Acoustics, Morganton Pressure Vessels, Tilson Machine and WestRock are scheduled to be at the Job Fair.  In addition, local staffing agencies, the U.S. Army, the City of Marion, McDowell County, North Carolina Highway Patrol, Ingle's, McDowell Technical Community College and many others will be represented.  With McDowell County having a low unemployment rate of 3.8 percent (tied for the 10th lowest unemployment rate in North Carolina) and hundreds of jobs being available locally, this is a good opportunity to find a job or to make a fresh start.  If you are currently driving out of town for work, this may be a chance to find a job locally and save time and gas.

Veterans are encouraged to attend the Job Fair.  All veterans will be given badges to identify them to employers.  All people attending the job fair are encouraged to come dressed for success and to bring copies of their resume.

Please make plans to come to the Community Job Fair on August 10 and to learn more about available jobs in and around our community.  For more information about the Job Fair or to inquire about Career Readiness Certification and other training opportunities, please visit the NC Works Career Center at the Ford Miller Employment and Training Center at 316 Baldwin Avenue in Marion or call (828) 659-6001.

Mayor Proclaims August 1 as Lee Dillingham Day in the City of Marion

Mayor Steve Little proclaimed Tuesday, August 1, 2017 as Lee Dillingham Day in the City of Marion, in recognition of Lee's 40 years of full-time service with the City.  Lee started work with the City on July 25, 1977.  Lee began his career with the City working in the Wastewater Treatment Plant and Street Departments.  For the past 21 years, Lee has served in the Sanitation Department, where he is currently an Equipment Operator II.  Lee's efforts keep our City clean and benefit almost every City resident on a weekly basis. 

Lee is perhaps the first full-time employee in the history of the City of Marion to reach 40 years of service.  During his time with the City, Lee has worked hard, displayed professionalism and a positive attitude and put the needs of his customers first.  Lee is very well respected by his fellow employees, supervisors and customers.

The City of Marion congratulates Lee Dillingham on reaching this tremendous milestone and wishes him the best of success as he continues to serve the City and community. 

National Night Out Set for Tuesday, August 1 on Main Street

The City of Marion Police Department will hold the annual National Night Out celebration on Tuesday evening, from 6:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m., on Main Street in Downtown Marion.  National Night Out is a nationwide event held on the first Tuesday of August each year to provide an opportunity for law enforcement and the community to get to know each other better and to have fun.  The City of Marion has celebrated National Night Out for over 20 years. 

The always popular Roadrunners band, featuring the vocal talents of Tanya Williams, will perform at National Night Out.  There will be free food and fun for children and people of all ages. 

Local businesses and organizations will have booths to promote their products and services.  There will be a patrol car show, with a trophy for the winning agency.

National Night Out always attracts a great crowd and is a lot of fun.  Please make plans to come to Downtown Marion on Tuesday evening, August 1 to enjoy great food, music and fun and to get to know your local law enforcement.

For more information, please contact Lieutenant Rusty Jenkins at the Marion Police Department at (828) 652-5205 or rjenkins@marionpd.org.

 

Downtown Concert Scheduled for Friday, July 21

The next concert of the 2017 Downtown Marion Concert Series will take place on Friday, July 21, from 6:30 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. at the Marion Tailgate Market at 67 West Henderson Street in Downtown Marion. This concert will feature Marion's own high energy band, "The Rackabilly's," playing a variety of Oldies and Country music from the 50's to the 90's.  From Ricky Nelson to Willie Nelson, Elvis to Vince Gill, and Blues to Bluegrass the Rockabilly's have something for everyone to enjoy.  Fronted by Seattle, Washington native Steve Fearey and Mississippi Delta-raised John Richardson, the Rockabilly's will make you want to get off your feet and dance.  There is no charge for admission to this great concert.

The July 21 will also feature Snowballs Chance Homespun Sugar selling their snow cones, ice cream and other fun food to help keep you cool.  While you are downtown, make sure to also check out some of the food and beverage businesses open in Downtown Marion.

The July 21 concert is sponsored by U.S. Cellular, Marion Credit Company, Marion Pharmacy, Spencer's Hardware abd the City of Marion.

Please make plans to come to the Tailgate Market, bring your lawn chair and enjoy a great evening of music and fun on Friday, July 21!  

This concert is coordinated by the Marion Business Association.  For more information, please follow Marion Events on Facebook or contact Lou Godfrey at 652-2215.

Marion Reaccredited as National Main Street Community

The City of Marion has been designated as an accredited National Main Street Program for meeting the commercial district revitalization performance standards set by the National Main Street Center®, a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Each year, the National Main Street Center and its partners announce the list of accredited Main Street® programs in recognition of their exemplary commitment to historic preservation and community revitalization through the Main Street Four Point Approach®. A total of 39 communities in North Carolina received accreditation this year.  Marion has achieved national accreditation for many years in a row. 

The North Carolina Main Street communities that have earned accreditation for their 2016 performance are Belmont, Boone, Brevard, Cherryville, Clinton, Concord, Eden, Edenton, Elkin, Garner, Goldsboro, Hendersonville, Hickory, Kings Mountain, Lenoir, Lexington, Lumberton, Marion, Monroe, Morganton, North Wilkesboro, Roanoke Rapids, Rocky Mount, Roxboro, Rutherfordton, Salisbury, Sanford, Shelby, Smithfield, Spruce Pine, Statesville, Sylva, Tryon, Valdese, Wake Forest, Waxhaw, Waynesville, Williamston, and Wilson.

Each year, the National Main Street Center® and its partners announce the list of accredited Main Street® programs, which have demonstrated best practices in community revitalization through the Main Street Four Point Approach. ®

“Strong, thriving main streets are a key in ensuring strong communities, especially in rural parts of the state,” said Anthony M. Copeland, Secretary of the N.C. Department of Commerce.  “We’re proud that our Main Street communities have been recognized on a national level for their achievements.  These local programs assist communities in bringing jobs and businesses to their downtowns, which helps overall communities enjoy a healthier, more robust economy.”

North Carolina is one of the original states to administer the National Main Street Program. The North Carolina Main Street & Rural Planning Center evaluates each of the state’s local Main Street organizations annually to identify those programs that meet ten performance standards.

“Those communities meeting the standards understand that downtown economic development requires a comprehensive approach, which is the basis for the National Main Street Program,” said Liz Parham, director of the North Carolina Main Street Center. “We’re proud of the accomplishments of the 39 North Carolina communities that have achieved national accreditation.”

“It is a great honor to recognize this year’s 828 nationally Accredited Main Street America programs for their outstanding work to transform downtown and neighborhood commercial districts,” says Patrice Frey, President & CEO of the National Main Street Center. ® “Main Streets are the heart of our communities, and the work they do to create quality public spaces, catalyze local entrepreneurship, and support downtown housing is more important than ever. Across the county, Main Street America programs truly strengthen the economic, social, and cultural fabric of their entire communities.”

The performance standards set the benchmarks for measuring an individual Main Street community’s application of the Main Street Four Point Approach® to commercial district revitalization. Evaluation criteria determine the communities that are building comprehensive and sustainable revitalization efforts and include standards such as fostering strong public-private partnerships, securing an operating budget, tracking programmatic progress and actively preserving historic buildings.  More information is available at National Main Street Accreditation.

Since 1980, The North Carolina Main Street program has generated more than $2.54 billion in private and public investment.  In 2016, North Carolina Main Street downtown districts generated 319 net new businesses, 154 business expansions in existing businesses, 1,555 net new jobs, 393 façade rehabilitations and 328 building renovations.  More than 114,336 volunteer hours were recorded

Main Street America has been helping revitalize older and historic commercial districts for more than 35 years. Today, it is a network of more than 1,000 neighborhoods and communities, rural and urban, who share both a commitment to place and to building stronger communities through preservation-based economic development. Since 1980, communities participating in the program have leveraged more than $71.35 billion in new public and private investment, generated 583,869 net new jobs and 131,974 net new businesses, and rehabilitated more than 267,800 buildings. Main Street America is a program of the nonprofit National Main Street Center, ® a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

The N.C. Main Street & Rural Planning Center works in regions, counties, cities, towns, downtown districts and in designated North Carolina Main street communities, to inspire placemaking through building asset-based economic development strategies that achieve measurable results such as investment, business growth and jobs.

For more information about the N.C. Main Street & Rural Planning Center, contact Liz Parham, Director at (919) 814-4658.

 

Plans Set for July 4th Celebration in Downtown Marion

The City of Marion and the Marion Business Association will celebrate the 241st birthday of the United States of America with the Annual July 4th Celebration on Tuesday, July 4th in Downtown Marion.  The July 4th Celebration will begin with the Parade at 6:00 p.m.  The Grand Marshal for this year's July 4th Parade will be McDowell County veterans.   The parade lineup will start in the Bank of America parking lot at 5:30 p.m.  A special slot will be reserved at the beginning of the parade for "Anything That Rolls." Adults or children with skates, bicycles and skateboards are welcome to participate and do not need to preregister.     

The Foothills Community Band will perform on Main Street immediately following the parade.  Little Miss McDowell Madison Cunningham will also perform.  At 7:00 PM, the street dance will beginon Main Street, featuring the local high energy band, "Gotcha Groove."   

The July 4th Celebration will end with the always popular fireworks demonstration at 9:45 PM.

Please make plans to come to Main Street on Tuesday, July 4th to enjoy a great parade, music, dancing and fireworks.

The July 4th Celebration is coordinated by the Marion Business Association.  For more information, please follow Marion Events on Facebook or contact Lou Godfrey at 828-652-2215.  

Downtown Concert Set for Friday, June 16

The first concert of the 2017 Downtown Marion Concert Series will take place on Friday, June 16, from 6:30 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. at the Marion Tailgate Market at 67 West Henderson Street in Downtown Marion. There is no charge for admission.  The June 16 concert will be a Sock Hop and Drive In.  DJ Mitzy Entertainment will be playing music from the 1950's.  Make sure to bring your dancing shoes so you can dance to your favorite 50's tunes.  You can also bring your classic car to display for everyone to admire.  Snowball's Chance Homespun Sugar will be selling snow cones and other fun foods.  You can also check out some of the food and beverage businesses open in Downtown Marion. 

Event sponsors are US Cellular, Marion Pharmacy, Spencer's Hardware, Marion Credit, Mr. Bob's Donuts, the Crooked Door Coffee House and the City of Marion. 

Come out to the Tailgate Market Shelter, bring your lawn chair and enjoy a great evening of music, classic cars and fun on Friday, June 16!  This concert is coordinated by the Marion Business Association.  For more information, please follow Marion Events on Facebook or contact Lou Godfrey at 652-2215.

 

11th Annual Liver Mush Festival Set for Saturday, June 3

Plans are set for the 11th Annual Liver Mush Festival on Saturday, June 3, from 5:00 PM to 9:00 PM on Main Street in Downtown Marion.  The Liver Mush Festival features a variety of food and fun activities for the whole family and is an event you will not want to miss.

Free Liver Mush sandwiches will be provided during the Festival by Hunter's Liver Mush, the event sponsor.  The Pig Calling Contest returns this year to the Liver Mush Festival.  Get your best pig call ready!  The best pig caller will win a $50 first prize, a trophy and a Festival t-shirt.  

Another highlight of the festival is the Liver Mush eating contest.  The contest is open to adults 18 years of age and up.  The winner will receive a $50 first prize, a trophy and a Festival t-shirt.  The Festival will have inflatables and other activities for the kids.  There will be many vendors and sponsors at the Festival, offering a variety of food and products.  

This year's Festival will feature the 1st Annual Hog on Hog Poker Run.  Registration is $20.00 per motorcycle.  Each registration includes a complimentary BBQ sandwich at the end of the run.  Registration begins at 1:00 PM on June 3 at the Marion Tailgate Market Shelter at 67 West Henderson Street in Marion.  The first bike out will be at 1:30 PM and the last bike out will be at 2:30 PM.  The Poker Run ends with a bike display on Main Street at 4:30 PM as part of the Liver Mush Festival.  The Hog on Hog Poker Run is raising money for Lou Godfrey, Events Coordinator for the Marion Business Association.  Lou recently had back surgery that has required more time out of work than anticipated. All proceeds will help her get back on her feet!  For more information, please call 828-652-2215.

This year's Liver Mush Festival will also feature a Beer and Wine Garden for the first time.  The Beer and Wine Garden will be located in front of and inside Refinery 13, located at 13 North Main Street in the Festival area.  Adults 21 years of age and older will be allowed in the Beer and Wine Garden area between 5:00 PM and 9:00 PM by paying $1 to receive a wristband.  All proceeds from the wristband sales will go to the local Women's Shelter.

The Liver Mush Festival would not be complete without the sounds of the sounds of great country music and rock classics by:

Roadrunnerz

The Roadrunnerz are a crowd pleasing, high energy band that is sure to get you out of your seat. A well established band, they are already known for playing a wide variety of music from your favorite top 40 country and pop dance tunes, and rock classics. The Roadrunnerz are well known for their strong vocals and harmonies from all five members.  Tanya Williams is the lead female powerhouse belting out hits by artists such as Adele, Patsy Cline, Miranda Lambert and other new country artists.  Bassist Jeff Queen gets fans rocking with kicking new country and southern rock. Sandy Grant brings lots of energy to the stage with rhythm guitar and rich vocals.  Chris Williams is a southern rocker with smooth vocals and adds a scalding lead guitar.  Drummer Jason Peeler is a backup and lead vocalist that carries the heartbeat of band as his powerful beat that gets the people on their feet.  The Roadrunnerz band is sure to please people of all ages.

The 2017 Liver Mush Festival is made possible by the generous support of the following sponsors: Hunter's Liver Mush, the City of Marion, Goforth Pest Control, US Cellular, Aaron’s Rental, McDowell Chamber of Commerce, Phillips Financial, Samir's and Blackbeard Outdoor World. 

Make plans to come to Main Street in Marion on Saturday, June 3 to join the celebration of Liver Mush and the Liver Mush heritage of Marion and McDowell County!

For more information, please contact the Marion Business Association at 828-652-2215 or follow Liver Mush Festival on Facebook.  In case of rain, the concert will be held at the Historic Marion Tailgate Market Shelter located at 67 West Henderson Street in Marion.  

Marion Ranked Among Top Cities in United States for First Time Home Buyers

Marion was recently ranked among the best cities and towns in the United States for first time home buyers by Lend EDU.  Over 30,000 U.S. towns were analyzed for a variety of parameters deemed important for first time home buyers and Marion ranked #277.  The rankings for this report were developed using licensed data from Experian and Onboard Informatics. The criteria for the rankings included median household income, median household value, mortgage success rate, property tax rate, crime risk index, weather risk index, cost of living index and entertainment cost index.  Marion’s ranking of 277 placed it in the top one percent of cities and towns in the United States for first time home buyers.

The complete report can be accessed at https://lendedu.com/blog/best-cities-first-time-homebuyers/.

The City of Marion is very proud to be listed in the top one percent of cities and towns in this study, especially given criteria such as crime index, property tax rate, weather risk, median household income, median household value and cost of living index.  In addition to the listed criteria, Marion and McDowell County have many jobs available, many recreational opportunities, convenience to larger cities and wonderful scenery and climate.  The City urges people looking for a first home to consider Marion.

For more information about Marion, please contact the Marion Business Association at 828-652-2215, the McDowell Chamber of Commerce at 828-652-4240 or visit the City website at www.marionnc.org.

Community Building Park Splash Pad Opens for Season on Monday, May 8

The City of Marion’s Community Building Park Splash Pad opened for the year on Monday, May 8.  The Splash Pad will be open from approximately 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. each day through early Fall.  Days and hours are subject to change if the City experiences drought conditions.

Please note that the Community Building Park remains closed, except for the tennis courts, splash pad and upper picnic shelter next to Logan Street, due to sinkholes.  The City continues to assess the condition of drainage culverts under the park and hopes to undertake repairs in the near future.

For more information, please contact the Public Works Department at 652-4224.

City Receives State Grant for Community Building Park Accessibility Improvements

On March 21, the City of Marion received notice of the award of a $159,622 Connect NC Bond grant from the State for Community Building Park accessibility improvements.  The City was very pleased to receive this grant, since the State received many more applications than could be funded.  The City is awaiting word on a grant application submitted to the Kate B. Reynolds (KBR) Charitable Trust for this project.  If the KBR grant is approved, the City will have 100 percent funding for the project.  The park improvements will involve the replacement of existing playground equipment with new, handicapped accessible equipment, the installation of a new accessible rubber surface in the park to replace the existing sand surface, the replacement of fencing and other items.  The City thanks Planning and Development Director Heather Cotton, Public Works Director Brant Sikes, local citizens and parents Louie and Samantha Parrow and the City's 2016 Summer Intern, Rosa Fowler, for their hard work in developing a plan that resulted in the grant award.

The City hopes to begin work on the Community Building Park improvements in 2018 or possibly sooner.

For more information, please contact Planning and Development Director Heather Cotton at 652-3551 or hcotton@marionnc.org.

  

Retail Sales in Marion and McDowell County Experience Large Increase

Taxable retail sales in McDowell County have increased dramatically in recent months.  For the first six months of the 2016-17 Fiscal Year, taxable retail sales in McDowell County have increased by 13 percent over the same time period in 2015-16, while taxable retail sales in North Carolina are up by 8 percent.  Since 2005, McDowell County retail sales have increased by over 47 percent, compared to growth of 26 percent across North Carolina as a whole.  The City of Marion accounts for 80 percent of retail sales in McDowell County. 

The City of Marion has experienced a net gain of more than 60 businesses over the past six years, with more new businesses set to open or announce in 2017.  The combination of increasing retail sales and many new businesses locating in the City are an indicator of tremendous economic growth in Marion and McDowell County.

The City of Marion, McDowell County, Marion Business Association, McDowell Chamber of Commerce and McDowell Economic Development Association urge everyone to Shop Local and to give local businesses a try before shopping online or out of town.

Marion and McDowell County are open for business and welcome new businesses of all sizes and varieties.  The City and its partner organizations offer many economic development programs.  For more information on economic development programs and how your business can succeed in Marion and McDowell County, click on the Doing Business tab at the top of this website.

 

Historic Marion Tailgate Valentine Market Scheduled for February 13-14

The Historic Marion Tailgate Valentine Market will be held on Monday, February 13 and Tuesday February 14 from 12:00 Noon until 4:00 p.m. at the Tailgate Market Shelter at 67 West Henderson Street in Marion.

The Valentine Market provides a great opportunity to do some last minute shopping for Valentine's Day.  Items being sold will include baked goods, cookies, candies, chocolates (and they will take orders too!), jewelry, knitted and stitchery items, quits and soaps. 

For more information about the Valentine Market, please call Katrina Hoyle at 659-2607.   

Happy Valentine’s Day and we will see you May 2 for the opening day of the 2017 Historic Marion Tailgate Market! 

City of Marion Accepting Applications for Small Business Community Loan Fund

Marion city leaders have formed a partnership with the N.C. Rural Economic Development Center to launch a $100,000 small business community loan fund.  The goal of the partnership is to encourage small business and entrepreneurial growth in the downtown area.

The STEP for Small Business Community Loan Fund works with individuals from Marion who have sound ideas for starting or expanding a small business.  Here are a few details about the fund:

 

  • Loan amounts range from $500 to $25,000 for small business startup or expansion

  • All loans are offered in combination with business planning and technical assistance

  • Loans will be reviewed by a local committee and serviced by the Rural Center

  • Loan funds may be used to purchase equipment, inventory, or as working capital

  • The loan fund does not compete with banks or other lenders, but rather, it is designed to serve as gap funding or complementary  financing for small businesses

The loan fund will prioritize retail, food, and service businesses in the central business district of Marion. The fund also encourages applications from low-income, female and minority borrowers.  The only way to be sure if you qualify is to apply. Basic requirements are:

 

  • You wish to start or expand a small business,

  • Your business is located in the central business district,

  • You are 18 years or older,

  • And, of course, you have to have a sound business idea.

To apply, complete and submit a pre-application to Freddie Killough at the Marion Business Association. Once received, a member of the Rural Center staff will help you through the remainder of the process.

For more information and to apply, contact Freddie Killough at (828)625-2215 or freddiek@frontier.com or Amanda Young at (919) 250-4314 or ayoung@ncruralcenter.org.

 

Marion Police Department Launching Citizen's Police Academy in March

The Marion Police Department will hold its first ever Citizen's Police Academy this March and April.  The Academy provides a great opportunity to learn about the Police Department and meet the department's officers.  Classes will be held on eight consecutive Thursday nights between March 2 and April 20 at 6:00 p.m. at the Police Department at 270 South Main Street.  Classes will cover the following topics:

March 2 - Welcome/Academy Focus

March 9 - Patrol Operations/Traffic Enforcement

March 16 - Investigations/Crime Stoppers

March 23 - Narcotics Investigations/Drug 101

March 30 - Special Response Team/Communications

April 6 - Defensive Driving Practical Exercise

April 13 - Firearms Demonstration/Practical Exercise

April 20 - Crime Stats/Graduation

The Police Department encourages interested people to apply to participate in the 2017 Citizen's Police Academy.  Applications are available at the Police Department at 270 South Main Street, at City Hall at 194 North Main Street or online at www.marionpd.org.

Thank you for considering participating in the Citizen's Police Academy.  For more information, please contact the Police Department at (828) 652-5205 or visit www.marionpd.org.

 

New Year's Eve Celebration Set for Saturday, December 31 on Main Street

Plans are set for the 8th Annual New Year’s Eve Celebration in Downtown Marion on Saturday, December 31 from 8:30 p.m. until 12:00 Midnight.  There is no need to go out of town on New Year’s Eve as you can save time and gas and celebrate the New Year in Downtown Marion.

The New Year’s Eve Celebration is sponsored by the Marion Rotary Club with assistance from the Marion Business Association, City of Marion, McDowell County and the McDowell Arts Council.

The event has many corporate sponsors this year.  This year’s Platinum Level sponsors are the McDowell Chamber of Commerce, Crooked Door Coffee House, Mr. Bob’s Donuts and Steve Jones Sells Homes.  Gold Level sponsors are Asheville Savings Bank and the Marion Rotary Club Past Presidents.  Silver Level sponsors are Realty One and WBRM Radio.  Bronze Level sponsors are the Corpening Memorial YMCA, First Citizens Bank, Freedom Life Ministries, Key Gas Components, McDowell Health Coalition, McDowell Mission Ministries, the McDowell News, Morrow Insurance Agency, Mountain Area Community Services, SettingWithStyle.com, Spencer's Hardware and Walt Bagwell Insurance Agency.

The New Year’s Eve Celebration will begin at 8:30 p.m. at the Gazebo on North Main Street with the Resolution Run 5K.  Runners and walkers are encouraged to sign up for this unique 5K.  To sign up, you can visit www.runsignup.com, type in Resolution Run under Find a Race and then select the Marion, NC race.  The entry fee for the 5K is $30.  The 5K will be limited to the first 100 entrants.  Registration ends on Friday, December 30 at 8:00 p.m. All entrants will receive a shirt, medal, and glow bracelet.

Other activities at the New Year’s Eve Celebration will run from 9:00 p.m. until shortly after 12:00 Midnight and will include music, food, shopping and entertainment.  During the Celebration, Main Street will be closed between New and Henderson Streets.  The event is designed to be family friendly.  No alcohol will be permitted on public streets or sidewalks or public property.  The Marion Business Association (MBA) is encouraging downtown businesses to remain open during the Celebration.  The MBA anticipates that many restaurants, bars, and retail businesses will be open during the event, providing food and beverages for sale. Entertainment at private businesses is planned.  Specifically, Crabby Abby’s, And Justice for All, Mulligan Mack’s After Five, Mr. Bob’s Donuts, the Crooked Door Coffee House, Café Marion, the McDowell Arts Council, Shuck’s Pearls, Dazzling Divas and Killough’s Music will be open, with different entertainment, sales and promotions planned.

At 9:00 p.m., there will be story time for children in the theater at the McDowell Arts Council (MACA).  Children and families are invited to participate.  At 10:00 p.m., a costume parade and contest will take place in the MACA theater, with a $50 cash prize awarded to the winner in each of three categories: youth, teen and adult.  There is no cost for either the story time or costume contest.

DJ Doug McCraw will play music on the Courthouse lawn throughout the event, with plenty of room for dancing.  There will be line dancing and dance music at various times during the evening.  A scavenger hunt will also take place, with a $100 first prize and $50 second prize. Scavenger hunt forms will be available in the MACA building.  The scavenger hunt involves answering questions about Downtown businesses and is suitable for all ages.  There is no cost to enter the scavenger hunt.

This year, for the first time, there will be a beer and wine garden at the New Year’s Eve Celebration inside the Possibilities Day Program building at 81 South Main Street at the intersection of South Main and East Henderson Street.  South Creek Winery, Belle Nicho Winery and Catawba Brewing will sell beer, wine and snacks.  There will be live entertainment with Skiffle Creek playing in the Possibilities building.  The North Carolina Gold Foundation will have hot food, drinks and snacks for sale, a gold nugget raffle, games and videos in the Possibilities building.  Possibilities Day Program provides programs and activities for individuals with disabilities in a safe and fun environment.

Carriage rides around the Downtown area will also be available for a small charge.  The carriages will load and unload near the intersection of Main and Court Streets.  Carriage ride tickets can be purchases at that location.  The Marion Rotary Club will sell novelty items such as top hats, tiaras, noisemakers and glow sticks in front of the McDowell Arts Council.  Children will be able to enjoy miniature train rides with Mayor Steve Little for a small fee.  The train will load and unload near the Crooked Door Coffee House.

In addition, there will be more street vendors than ever selling hot food, such as pizza, popcorn, kettle corn, funnel cake, fried oreos, hot dogs, hamburgers, barbeque, hot chocolate, soft drinks and other items.  The Marion Rotary Club is inviting interested churches, non-profit groups, businesses and individuals to sell crafts or food and non-alcoholic drink items on Main Street during the New Year’s Eve Celebration.  A craft vendor space can be obtained for $10.00 and a food or beverage vendor space can be reserved for $20.00.  Please contact Bob Boyette at 652-3551 or Freddie Killough or Lou Godfrey at 652-2215 to register as a vendor.

At 12:00 Midnight, everyone will celebrate the New Year with the traditional dropping of a large replica of a gold nugget from a boom crane truck provided by McDowell Cement Products onto Main Street.  This year, a new metal gold nugget is being made for New Year’s Eve by Turtle Laboratories.  You will not want to miss seeing the brand new gold nugget, which is sure to be a major highlight of the evening.  The gold nugget is sponsored by the North Carolina Gold Foundation, Turtle Laboratories, McDowell Cement Products and Don Markum/Bathfitter.  Once again this year, the gold nugget will drop into a 10 foot giant donut made by Mr. Bob’s Donuts.  After the gold nugget drop, Mr. Bob will serve coffee and donuts to anyone who is interested.  There will also be a sparkler display on the Courthouse Lawn after the gold nugget drop, so the public is encouraged not to leave right at Midnight. 

The New Year’s Eve Celebration is being funded through contributions from the Marion Rotary Club, the McDowell Chamber of Commerce and the corporate sponsors listed above.  The City of Marion will provide staffing support for the event through its Police, Public Works and Fire Departments, with assistance from the Marion Business Association and McDowell County. The Marion Police Department, Marion Fire Department and McDowell County EMS will have personnel on hand during the Celebration and provide security and medical assistance for the event.

Please make plans to join the fun on Main Street on New Year’s Eve and invite family and friends to come out and enjoy a great evening.

For further information, please contact Marion Business Association Events Coordinator Lou Godfrey at 652-2215 or lougodfrey@frontier.com or City Manager Bob Boyette at 652-3551 or bboyette@marionnc.org.

 

Melodies on Main Set for Thursday Evening, December 1

Melodies on Main is set for Thursday, December 1 from 5:30 PM – 7:00 PM on the Courthouse lawn on Main Street in Downtown Marion.  This always popular event sponsored by the Marion Business Association features Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus visiting with kids.  A free 4" X 6" photo of Santa Claus or Mrs. Claus with each child will be available at the WalMart Photo Center beginning on Monday, December 5 after the event. 

At Melodies on Main, children and adults can enjoy caroling, face painting and make a Christmas ornament.  There will be hay rides around the Downtown area and funnel cakes, kettle corn and hot cider will be available for purchase.  You can also visit the craft booths that will be set up on the Courthouse Lawn.  Back again this year is Letters to Santa.  Children can bring their letters to Santa and leave them in the Magic Mail Box for delivery.

Downtown merchants will be offering extended hours during Melodies on Main.  This is a great opportunity to complete your Christmas shopping.  Jewelry, furniture, gift items, candles, musical instruments, coffees, donuts, and custom,  hand crafted gifts are just a few of the shopping opportunities for your shopping pleasure.  One of the special features of the downtown Christmas shopping season is the Blue Ridge Artisans Show at the McDowell Arts Council on South Main Street.  The show features more than a dozen of McDowell County’s finest artisans.  This is the place to shop for one of-a-kind Christmas gifts!

Please make plans to bring the whole family to Downtown Marion on Thursday evening, December 1 for Melodies on Main.

For more information, please contact Lou Godfrey at the Marion Business Association at 828-652-2215 or visit Marion Events on Facebook. 

Marion Christmas Parade Set for Sunday, November 20

The 2016 Marion Christmas Parade is scheduled for 3:00 p.m., Sunday, November 20, 2016.  The event will kick-off Thanksgiving and Christmas activities for the City of Marion.  The parade is organized by the Marion Business Association and sponsored by the City of Marion.   

The theme for the parade is “A Blue Ridge Christmas”.  The Parade Marshal is R. Marshall Dark, Jr.  R. Marshall Dark, Jr. has spent most of his life devoted to promoting, protecting, and supporting McDowell County. In 1955 he joined McDowell Insurance Agency (now Morrow Insurance Agency – McDowell) and became a charter member of the McDowell Chamber of Commerce in 1957. Throughout Mr. Dark\\\'s 45 years as a successful business owner, he was an instrumental force in the Chamber, serving as president and helping to recruit Baxter Health Care to the area in 1970.  Mr. Dark is a past president of Marion Rotary Club, where he was a member for 60 years. 

Mr. Dark has provided leadership on many local boards such as McDowell Hospital, Bank of America, WNC Mountain Athletic Club, McDowell Technical College Foundation, McDowell Economic Development, and most recently on the McDowell Hospital Foundation Board responsible for the new state of the art facility now under construction.  Mr. Dark co-founded the McDowell Rescue Squad, and spent 20 years as a City of Marion volunteer firefighter, serving as Assistant Chief. 

Mr. Dark is currently active at Nebo Crossing Church and was elder, deacon and choir member for many years at First Presbyterian Church. He and his wife Barbara celebrated 60 years of marriage in 2015. They love spending time with their family including two children, five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. 

McDowell’s own award winning McDowell High School Marching Titan Band will be featured at the beginning of the parade. Hillcrest Marching Band from Asheville is expected to participate and is always a big hit.  

All parade float entries are required to be registered.  The registration number is to be displayed in the window of the parade entry, be fully decorated with a Christmas theme and have all passengers loaded when arriving for parade line-up. Deadline for registration is Thursday, November 17.  Any entry not registered with a number and decorated will be turned away at line-up.  Antique cars are not required to be decorated or pre-register.  Emergency vehicles with PA systems are encouraged to play Christmas music.  

No candy is allowed to the thrown from any vehicle or float.  Handouts by persons walking in the parade route are acceptable and encouraged.   

The Marion Business Association and the City of Marion will sponsor the only Santa Claus in the Christmas Parade.  No other Santa will be allowed in the parade. Churches may have only one bus/unit in the parade and it must be decorated.  

The Parade line-up begins at 1:30 PM in the parking lot of Rose’s.  All parade vehicles are to enter Robinson Road behind Rose’s and come into the parking lot.  Vehicles will then be entered into line-up.  Horses will line-up on Montevista Avenue. Horse trailers are to be taken to the Public Works Department behind the Hook & Anchor.  Horses will continue together as a unit to the Public Works Department on Rutherford Road.   All horses are to remain on Montevista Avenue until placed into the line-up.  No horses are allowed in the shopping center parking lot. 

The parade procession will begin at Montevista Avenue and North Main Street and will finish at Spring Street.  Walking units will enter the parade at the Community Building.  The parade is to stay together until it reaches Morgan Street and all entries are to go to the end of the parade route before disbanding. Children on floats can be picked up at the Hook & Anchor Restaurant on Rutherford Road. 

The Marion Business Association is still accepting entries for the Christmas Parade.  There is no charge for registration.  Please contact Lou Godfrey with the Marion Business Association at (828) 652-2215 to register to enter the Christmas Parade and to receive a registration number and a copy of the parade guidelines.  The City of Marion is the official sponsor of the Parade.

Historical Ghost Walk Downtown Marion Friday, October 28th, 2016

Join the McDowell Historical Society on an eerie journey into the City of Marion’s haunted past as you stroll down Main Street.  Stories and legends of the unusual and supernatural are combined with the fun and fascinating history of the City.  This event is being held to promote Marion’s local history and to support the downtown business community.

Tickets are $15.00 per person and tours are scheduled for specific time slots.  Times include 6:30pm, 7:00pm, 7:30pm, and 8:00pm.  Tickets can be purchased online through the Mountain Herb Salve website at http://www.mountainherbsalve.com/shop and select “Historical Ghost Walk of Marion” or place an order by phone at (828) 527-9098.  Children between the ages of 12 and 16 having a ticket are permitted on the tour only if accompanied by an adult.

Ticket holders are also invited to a Halloween party following the tour! The party will take place at the last stop on the tour where we will be investigating the ghostly events at the Depot Grille.  Those interested may choose to dress in costume and to purchase dinner or appetizers/drinks at this family-friendly establishment.  For more information about the event phone (828) 527-9098 or visit the McDowell County Historical Society Facebook page.  

Tailgate Market Fall Festival Scheduled for October 25

The Historic Marion Tailgate Market will hold its annual Fall Festival Day on Tuesday, October 25.  The event will feature Trick or Treating with downtown merchants from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.  Other fun activities will take place at the Tailgate Market Shelter on West Henderson Street until 5:00 p.m.  This is a fun event for the entire family, so get out your Halloween costumes and come out and enjoy the fun in Downtown Marion on October 25.

For more information, please contact Lou Godfrey at the Marion Business Association at 652-2215.

Plans Set for Mountain Glory Festival on Saturday, October 8

The City of Marion will celebrate the arrival of autumn in the Blue Ridge with the annual Mountain Glory Festival on Saturday, October 8, from 9:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. on Main Street in Downtown Marion.  For 33 years, beautiful Downtown Marion has hosted this popular celebration on the 2nd Saturday in October near the peak of leaf season in Western North Carolina.  Each year, approximately 20,000 people attend Mountain Glory, making it one of the most popular festivals in Western North Caerolina.  This year, make plans to visit Marion on October 8 and enjoy the variety of food, shopping, fun and activities that the Mountain Glory Festival offers.  Admission to the Mountain Glory Festival is free.

As usual, the Mountain Glory Festival will feature over 140 food, craft and non-profit vendors spread out over three blocks of Main Street.  Visitors looking for original handicrafts will find plenty of choices for shopping, including locally made arts and crafts.  You can enjoy a great variety of festival foods and a wide array of live entertainment, focusing on old time mountain music.

You will not want to miss the annual Mountain Glory Quilt Show inside the McDowell Arts Council. The quilt show is the gallery's featured exhibit for October.  The mountain tradition of quilting is alive and well with dozens of quilts and quilted pieces on display.  The Quilt Show has been a beautiful and colorful addition to Mountain Glory Festival for many years and all quilts are one of a kind works of art.  There is no charge for the Qulit Show. You can also enjoy the McDowell Arts Council Art Gallery while visiting the Quilt Show. 

The kids will have fun in the Children's Area with hands-on activities, gem mining, the Monkey Bridge and a best-dressed pet contest.  There will also be inflatables for children on Main Street near the northern end of the Festival area. 

New for the 2016 Mountain Glory Festival is a Beer and Wine Garden.  Beer and wine will be available for purchase by glass or bottle between 11:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. for those 21 years of age and older in the Beer and Wine Garden, located next to State Farm Insurance on Main Street,  ID is required to enter the Beer and Wine Garden.  The beer and wine will be provided by local and regional breweries and wineries.

Also new for the 2016 Mountain Glory Festival is a phone app from UGo Tours,

This year's Mountain Glory Festival includes a free shuttle service. This transportation service will run approximately every 15 minutes between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. between the McDowell Senior Center and a point located near Kirksey Funeral Home on Fort Street next to the Festival area. The transportation service is provided courtesy of the McDowell County Department of Social Services.

The Mountain Glory Festival is sponsored by the City of Marion and coordinated by the Marion Business Association, with numerous businesses also serving as sponsors.  This year's Festival sponsors include the McDowell Hospital, McDowell Technical Community College, the McDowell News, Jim Cook Chevrolet Buick GMC, Catawba Valley Staffing, the McDowell Chamber of Commerce, Asheville Savings Bank, Hunter's Livermush, Pepsi, McDowell Cornerstone Credit Union, McDowell County Farm Bureau, U.S. Cellular, H. Russell Neighbors, Attorney at Law, Tom Johnson Camping World, Mountain Area Community Services, Marion D.D.S. Family Dentistry, Killough's Music & Loan, Appalachian Trading Post, Frontier Communications and Westmoreland Funeral Home & Crematory. 

Please make plans to come to Downtown Marion on Saturday, October 8 for the Mountain Glory Festival.  You'll be glad you did!

For more information about the Mountain Glory Festival, please call the Marion Business Association at (828) 652-2215, e-mail info@mtngloryfestival.com or visit www.mtngloryfestival.com. To find additional area events, attractions and lodging information, you can visit www.blueridgetravelers.com or call toll free (888-233-6111) to receive a free visitor guide and map. 

City of Marion to Host a Free Fair Housing Seminar

The City of Marion will host a free Fair Housing Seminar on Wednesday, October 12, 2016 from 2:00pm to 3:30pm at the Marion Community Building located at 191 North Main Street, Marion, NC, 28752.  There will also be time after the presentation to speak to a fair housing specialist to ask questions or obtain additional information about fair housing.  The Seminar is open to the public and is tailored to property managers, housing providers, real estate professionals, housing advocates, care providers, and anyone interested in knowing their housing rights.  Space is limited to 150, and RSVP is not required but is strongly encouraged to reserve your seat.

What is Fair Housing?  The Fair Housing Act is a federal act intended to protect a buyer or renter of a dwelling from either seller or landlord discrimination.  The Act makes it illegal for anyone to discriminate in any public or private residential real estate transaction, including buying, selling, renting, financing, or advertising a residential property.   

A new federal rule under the Fair Housing Act was recently enacted clarifying the rights of tenants and the responsibilities of housing providers.  The rule clarifies and simplifies existing fair housing obligations and creates a streamlined process for evaluating fair housing within a community.  The seminar will provide information on the Fair Housing Act; how the new rule impacts housing providers, and the rights of those seeking housing including how to file a discrimination complaint in North Carolina.

Mr. Philip Jordan, Interim Executive Director and Program Manager with the North Carolina Human Relations Commission will be the guest speaker for this free seminar.  The NC Human Relations Commission is responsible for providing services and programs aimed at improving relationships among all citizens of the state, while seeking to ensure equal opportunities in the areas of employment, housing, public accommodations, recreation, education, justice, and governmental services. 

The program will provide attendees with the opportunity to learn about the following topics:

  • The N.C. Human Relations Commission’s Overview and Mission
  • The Definition of Housing Discrimination
  • The Definitions of Protected and Non-Protected Classes
  • The Laws that Prohibit Discrimination
  • Examples of Discriminatory Housing Practices
  • Reasons for Complaints
  • Legal Practices

To RSVP or to obtain more information, please contact Heather Cotton, City of Marion Planning and Development Director at (828) 652-3551 or via email at hcotton@marionnc.org.  You can also RSVP for the seminar at www.marionncfairhousing.eventbrite.com.

City of Marion Announces Downtown Business Exterior Grants Program

The City of Marion was recently awarded a $94,340 Downtown Revitalization Grant by the State.  As part of this grant award, the City Council has authorized that $10,000 be used for a Downtown Business Exterior Grants Program.  Under this program, the City will fund 20 grants in the amount of up to $500 for businesses in the designated Downtown area to make exterior improvements.  This is a 100 percent grant, up to the maximum amount of $500, with no investment required by the business. 

Examples of possible projects could be the installation of speakers to play music on the sidewalk, the purchase of benches, the installation of signs or awnings and window and door replacements. 

The City is now accepting applications from Downtown businesses for this program.  If a business has not directly received a grant application, they may contact City Manager Bob Boyette at City Hall at 652-3551 or bboyette@marionnc.org or find the application at the following link: http://marionnc.org/Marion/uploads//Economic%20Development/Downtown%20Business%20Exterior%20Improvements%20Grant.pdf.

While this particular grant is limited to $500, businesses may also wish to consider participating in other City and State programs.  Information about these programs can be found at the following link: http://marionnc.org/Marion/uploads/Economic%20Development/Economic%20Development%20Resources.pdf.

Applications for the Downtown Business Exterior Grants Program are due at City Hall by 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, October 26, 2016.  The City has attempted to keep the grant application simple, with only minimal information, two cost estimates and photos required.  Upon approval of the grant application, a business may begin the project.  To comply with the State’s rules for this program, projects must be completed and final invoices and photos submitted to the City by March 1, 2017. 

While only one grant will initially be given to any particular business, if there are not a sufficient number of qualifying grant applications received by the October 26 deadline, a second round of funding may be opened, in which case a business receiving funding in the first round could apply again.

The application form provides additional information and regulations for the grant program.

The City urges Downtown business to consider applying for the Downtown Business Exterior Improvements Grant Program. 

For additional information, please contact City Manager Bob Boyette at City Hall at 652-3551 or bboyette@marionnc.org.

Community Building Park Splash Pad to Close for Season on October 9

The City of Marion has announced that the Community Building Park Splash Pad will close for the season on Sunday, October 9.  The Splash Pad will reopen in Spring 2017.

For further information, please contact the Public Works Department at 652-4224.

City of Marion Receives Downtown Revitalization Grant from State

The City of Marion was one of 53 cities in North Carolina selected by the General Assembly in the 2016-17 State Budget to receive a Downtown Revitalization Grant of $94,340.  On August 8, the City received a letter from the North Carolina Department of Commerce, stating that a proposal regarding how the City plans to spend the money must be submitted by September 1.  The funds can be spent on capital projects, infrastructure, planning, building improvements, property acquisition, etc. in the City’s defined Downtown area, but cannot be used for salary or operations.  

The City Council obtained input from the Marion Business Association Board of Directors, downtown business and property owners and City staff regarding how the money should be invested.  A total of 30 ideas for the use of the Downtown Revitalization Grant were proposed. 

The City Council held special meetings on August 23 and 30 and endorsed the following possible projects for the Downtown Revitalization Grant Program:  

1.  Business Grant - $10,000

2.  Building Painting/Repairs - $5,000

3.  Restrooms at Farmer’s Market - $30,800

4.  Restrooms/Shelter at Gazebo - $36,900

5.  Sidewalk/Parking Improvements - $25,000

6.  Stage for Events - $20,000 

The items listed above total $127,700, which exceeds the available amount of State funding.  These projects were submitted by the City to the North Carolina Department of Commerce on September 1 for consideration.  Upon the anticipated approval of all of the items listed above, which will likely take place by the end of September, the City Council can select which projects the City will implement. 

The grant funds will need to be spent by March 2017, with a project report detailing how the funds were spent sent by the City to the North Carolina Department of Commerce by March 31, 2017. 

The City thanks the Marion Business Association Board and staff, downtown business and property owners and City staff for their assistance with identifying potential uses for the Downtown Revitalization funding. 

For further information about the Downtown Revitalization Funding, please contact City Manager Bob Boyette at 652-3551 or bboyette@marionnc.org.

Community Building Park Tennis Courts to Host McDowell High School Women's Tennis Matches

The Marion Community Building Park tennis courts will host McDowell High School Women’s Tennis home matches during the Fall 2016 season.  A total of five home tennis matches have been scheduled, as follows:

Thursday, September 15

Tuesday, September 20

Tuesday, September 27

Thursday, September 29

Tuesday, October 4

It is possible that additional matches could be scheduled or matches could be rescheduled due to inclement weather.

On the listed dates for the matches, the Community Building Park tennis courts will be closed to the public, beginning at 3:00 p.m. until matches conclude, perhaps at 8:00 p.m. or later.

For more information about the Community Building tennis courts, please contact the Public Works Department at 652-4224 or City Manager Bob Boyette at 652-3551.  For information about the tennis matches, please contact McDowell High School Athletic Director Neil Brackett at 652-7920.  

City of Marion Holds Ribbon Cutting and Grand Opening of Improved Peavine Trail

The Marion City Council held a ribbon cutting and grand opening for the recently improved Peavine Trail on Friday, July 29 at 4:00 p.m.  The ribbon cutting took place at the trailhead on the State Street side of the Peavine Trail. An enthusiastic group of about 30 people participated in the ribbon cutting.

The City recently used a $4,500 donation from the McDowell Trails Association and City funds to install a new surface on the Peavine Trail.  The new surface is composed of fine gravel and sand and provides for a better surface on which to walk, run, or bike. 

In 2010, the City of Marion acquired from Norfolk Southern Railway 33 acres of the old Peavine Rail Line right of way from State Street to just south of Jacktown Road, a distance of about 2.4 miles.  The trail currently extends for 1.5 miles from State Street to the trestle located behind Mi Pueblito Restaurant on Rutherford Road.  Barricades have been installed at both ends of this trestle, until such time as the trestle can be demolished or repaired, which will eventually allow the trail length to extend to the full 2.4 mile length.  The City is now seeking funding for a structural evaluation of the trestle. 

The public is invited to visit the Peavine Trail during daylight hours to enjoy a pleasant walk, run or bike ride and beautiful scenery.

For further information about the Peavine Trail, please contact Planning and Development Director Heather Cotton at 828-652-3551 or hcotton@marionnc.org or City Manager Bob Boyette at 828-652-3551 or bboyette@marionnc.org.

Marion Receives Accreditation from National Main Street Program

The City of Marion has been designated as an accredited National Main Street Program for meeting the commercial district revitalization performance standards set by the National Main Street Center®, a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Each year, the National Main Street Center and its partners announce the list of accredited Main Street® programs in recognition of their exemplary commitment to historic preservation and community revitalization through the Main Street Four Point Approach®. A total of 44 communities in North Carolina received accreditation this year.

"Vibrant downtowns are important economic engines for the North Carolina economy," said North Carolina Commerce Secretary John E. Skvarla, III. "This national recognition confirms the results we're seeing every day in these forward-thinking communities and is a testament to the hard work and commitment of our Main Street program participants."

"Once again, we are thrilled to recognize this year's nationally accredited Main Street America communities for their outstanding work," says Patrice Frey, President & CEO of the National Main Street Center. “We are experiencing an exciting era for America's cities and towns, with a growing recognition of the importance of strong local enterprise, distrinctive character, engaged residents, and sense of place. These are things that Main Street America programs have been working to protect and advance for years, strengthening the economic, social, and cultural fabric of communities across the country."

The performance standards set the benchmark for measuring a community's application of the Main Street Four Point Approach® to commercial district revitalization. Standards include fostering strong public-private partnerships, securing an operating budget, tracking programmatic progress and actively preserving historic buildings.

"Each year, our Center's staff evaluates each of the state's designated Main Street organizations to identify those programs that met the National Main Street Center's ten performance standards for the previous twelve-month calendar year. 69% of all North Carolina Main Street communities achieved national accreditation in 2016 and that represents 14% more communities that have worked over the last year to incorporate best practices in their Main Street operations," said Liz Parham, director of the N.C. Main Street & Rural Planning Center.

Established by the National Trust for Historic Preservation in 1980, the National Main Street Center helps communities of all sizes revitalize their older and historic commercial districts. Working in more than 2,000 downtowns and urban neighborhoods over the last 36 years, the Main Street Program has leveraged more than $65.6 billion in new public and private investment. Participating communities have created over 556,000 net new jobs and rehabilitated 260,000, leveraging significant private investment for every dollar spent on their Main Street district revitalization efforts.

Marion's Main Street Program, administered by the Marion Business Association, met the listed criteria and qualified for recnognition. Only about 8 percent of North Carolina municipalities have a nationally accredited Main Street Program.

For more information, please contact Marion Business Association Executive Director Freddie Killough at (828) 652-2215.

Beach Bash Scheduled for August 19

The final concert of the 2016 Downtown Marion Concert Series will take place on Friday, August 19, from 6:30 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. at the Marion Tailgate Market at 67 West Henderson Street in Downtown Marion. The August 19 concert is the always popular Beach Bash, which this year will feature Shake Down from Taylorsville, North Carolina.

Shake Down is a six-piece variety band. Combining a mixture of both “past” and “present” in both talent and music, they perform a wide variety of music including beach, shag, rock‘n‘roll, funk, motown, country, and top 40. Shake Down is the perfect group for any festival, wedding, corporate event, dance club, or any other venue.

Come out to the Tailgate Market Shelter, bring your lawn chair and enjoy a great evening of music with some of our region‘ s finest musicians!

This concert is coordinated by the Marion Business Association. 

For more information follow Marion Events on Facebook or contact Lou Godfrey at 652-2215.

Public Comment Sought for City of Marion's New Parks and Recreation Plan

The City of Marion Planning and Development Services Department is preparing to update its Comprehensive Parks and Recreation Master Plan.  This update will replace the 2006 Parks and Recreation Master Plan. It will focus on existing park facilities operated and maintained by the City of Marion, and identify opportunities for future parks and recreation enhancements. The purpose of the plan is to provide guidance and direction for making informed decisions about parks and recreation facilities and services over the next ten years.

A number of meetings and public outreach efforts are scheduled to discuss the future of Marion's Parks and Recreation facilities. The community is invited and encouraged to attend any of these meetings or events to learn more about the City’s Parks and Recreation facilities and provide comments on future projects and programs. The first community meeting will held at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, July 12th at Marion City Hall located at 194 North Main Street in Marion. An information booth will also be set up at the July 4th Celebration in downtown Marion to distribute information about the Plan update and answer questions. We encourage citizens to ask questions, submit ideas, and make recommendations about the future of Marion's urban park system, open spaces, and recreational services at both of these events.

In addition to these events, the City has developed a survey to better understand the level of interest and community support for recreational programs.  The survey is a short ten question survey, and should take only a few minutes to complete.   The online survey can be accessed by visiting our website at www.marionnc.org/parksupdate.org, or you can pick up a paper copy of the survey at Marion City Hall, McDowell County Library Marion Branch, McDowell County Chamber of Commerce, McDowell Health Department, McDowell County DSS, or Corpening Memorial YMCA. Each location will have a survey drop box or you can deliver it to Marion City Hall located at 194 North Main Street in downtown Marion, or mail it to City of Marion, PO Drawer 700, Marion, N.C. 28752.  The survey will be available and accepted through Thursday, July 28, 2016.

For more information about the City of Marion Comprehensive Parks and Recreation Plan please contact Rosa Fowler at (828) 652-3551 or via email rfowler@marionnc.org.

City of Marion Recognized as 2016 Playful City USA Community

The City of Marion is being honored with a 2016 Playful City USA designation for the fourth year in a row. Marion is one of 13 communities across North Carolina municipalities and one of 257 nationally to receive the Playful City USA designation. Only five other communities in North Carolina have been Playful City USA communities for longer than Marion.

Celebrating its 10th anniversary, the national recognition program honors cities and towns across the country for making their cities more playable. Communities across the country are creating innovative ways to bring back play and attract residents through family friendly activities. Interactive sidewalk art, designated play spaces on trails and the transformation of schoolyards into active play areas are just a few examples of how cities are becoming more playful.

“We are thrilled to recognize these communities that have invested their time and efforts to put kids first,” said KaBOOM! CEO James Siegal. “Balanced and active play is crucial to the well-being of kids and the communities that they thrive in.  By integrating play into cities, the leaders of Playful Cities USA are working to attract and retain the thousands of families that want homes in close proximity to safe places to play.”

To learn more about these cities, see the full list of the 257 communities named 2016 Playful City USA honorees, or to gather more information on the Playful City USA program, visit www.playfulcityusa.org. We also encourage you to take part in the conversation on #playability with these thought leaders on Twitter and Facebook. 

For more information, please contact Planning and Development Director Heather Cotton at (828) 652-3551 or hcotton@marionnc.org.